Comment: Black Boot Army & Land Navigation
December 11, 2014 at 8:39 am #62855MaxKeymaster
There was an interesting link over at WRSA:
Good stuff. For anyone looking closely this is exactly what MVT is training! I grew up in the British Black Boot Army, and now I serve in the US Tan Boot Army: so between myself and the cadre, we are bringing you a synthesis of what we consider the best practices.
But here’s the thing, and why I am commenting specifically in the Land Navigation section: there are levels of experience, selection and competency. What I find so wrong about this article is that it goes to to default boot camp navigation levels. There is no added layer of experience or competency. It’s just: this is what we did at boot camp, and maybe we didn’t progress our land navigation skills beyond that when we served our time before we got out…
I show you how to do this, specifically with a orienteering style compass, which makes your life easier, in this post:
It’s this whole reliance on the lensatic compass and protractor. That’s clunky and inefficient. Use a lenasatic for specific things such as, for example: intersection, resection, fire missions. The US Army doesn’t seem to teach beyond lensatic/protractor dead reckoning. You seem to have to gain that sort of knowledge if you learn it in a ‘higher speed’ unit. Who wants to take out a protractor and lensatic compass when simply taking a new bearing for the next leg, while in the woods all geared up?
Now, in the British Army, certainly the units I was in, everyone had an orienteering style compass. The prismatic (lensatic) was stowed in case of need for non-navigation style tasks. In fact, on training courses such as the infantry battle school, when it was your turn to take a command appointment (this is like Ranger School) you would be handed over the binos and prismatic compass as part of your command equipment. You sure as hell wouldn’t use them to navigate!
Often, these sort of things are very much the DKWYDK factor – even, or particularity, for former service members (it’s that overstated ego again…..). Former servicemen harking back to ‘their day’ of the black boots and “how much harder” it was then. It may be they were in for 5 minutes and that’s all they learned.
There is more, there is better.
December 11, 2014 at 4:03 pm #62856
I carry a Silva compass. I learned to use these in the Boy Scouts. I prefer it to the lensatic, and it’s a lot lighter. Ounces are pounds, as the saying goes.
December 11, 2014 at 4:23 pm #62857PalmettoParticipant
I’m glad to see some positive ink on the orienteering compass.
I’ve thought it made more sense to carry an orienteering compass for land navigation unless one had a very specific need for the lensatic.
A good old Silva is compact, lightweight, simple to use, durable, has less things that could break, and they’re way cheaper than a USGI lensatic.
December 11, 2014 at 5:48 pm #62858
I’ve got and used lensatic and Silva-type protractor orienteering compasses and it’s a no brainer about which is my preferred go-to compass.
Been using the Silvas since Army cadets in the 1970s. The better Silvas have a sighting prism on the graduation ring. Most also have multiple romers for grid referencing at different scales.
My baby is the top of the range Silva.
6400 mils on the graduation ring and 6400 mils and 360 degrees on the sighting scale.
December 11, 2014 at 8:58 pm #62859nonconformistParticipant
Ditto on the Silva Ranger. Mine is ’79 vintage and despite many,many miles and a small air bubble, she’s good to go. Reglued the loose mirror today.
December 11, 2014 at 10:37 pm #62860ThomasParticipant
Silva ranger and a Silva backup. I had the Silva in OCS in 1983.
December 12, 2014 at 10:09 am #62861
Mine is an old Silva Systems Type 7 NL, which I’ve had since the Scouts,early 70s. A few scuffs and scratches on the base, but functions perfectly after 40 years.
Damn, 40 years. That’s a sobering thought.
December 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm #62862ThomasParticipant
Silva and Suunto make great products. I also have an old M2(?) compass used in laying a mortar section. It is the military version of a Brunton compass.
In some instances, 40 years is a long time. In others, a fleeting moment.
April 21, 2015 at 8:59 am #62863MaxKeymaster
This is really not a post about a selection of gear as much as it is learning to use what gear you have
Military navigation in peace time is about finding precise points with a red and white pole on them
Wartime navigation is almost always movement to contact OR movement from one safe area to another, neither of which require hitting a 1 square foot point on the ground.
I have a ball compass pinned on my jump smock, a Silva around my neck and a Lensatic in its pouch.
Gear doesnt matter. Id rather follow someone using a lensatic if he consistently got me where we are supposed to be, than a rookie with a Silva who is lost most of the time.
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